Posts Tagged DIY

How To Build A Tiny House With Slide Outs

How To Build A Tiny House With Slide Outs

How To Build A Tiny House With Slide OutsMany people have asked me about tiny houses with slide outs as a way to extend the living space in a tiny house. So today I wanted to break down how to actually build a tiny home with slide outs, the costs, and the pros and cons of using them.

What Is A Tiny House Slide Out?

What Is A Tiny House Slide Out

A slide out in a tiny home is essentially a box with expanding walls for additional living space that collapses inside the tiny house for transport. This is common in RV’s for couches, beds and additional living space.

Pros Of Tiny House Slide Outs

Pros Of Tiny House Slide Outs

The biggest benefit of having a slide out, also known as a bump out, in your tiny home is, of course, the additional square footage. Here are a few things to think about when it comes to the benefits of slide outs.

Maximize Your Space

Tiny House with Slide Outs

In some cases, people want to have as much space as they can for their living space. The biggest tiny house you can have is about 400 square feet, but some may need or want more space. If you’re pushing the envelope that much, you might want to consider a tiny house built on a foundation.

Smaller Trailer

Others hope to build their tiny house on a smaller trailer for easier towing, but still have the benefits of a larger tiny home. If you need a certain square footage, one option is to use a smaller trailer with built in bump outs or pop outs to still achieve that targeted square footage for your needs. Having a smaller trailer makes towing your tiny house easier to turn and generally safer to drive.

Greater Interior Width

Beyond the additional square footage, I think one of the most compelling reasons to consider this is that you can create a much roomier feel inside your tiny house. One challenge with tiny houses is how narrow they can be, limited to only 8.5 feet wide in most cases. Just having the ability to open up the inside area to have ample space for furniture and a clear walking path is huge!

tiny house building checklist

Cons Of Tiny House Slide Outs

Cons Of Tiny House Slide Outs

There are a lot of downsides to having a slide out or bump out in your tiny home, too. Here are a few that come to mind:


It can be very difficult for a slide to be installed in such a way that it stays completely sealed in both the open and closed positions, so most slides will develop leaks over time. Water damage is a huge issue with tiny house slide outs.

Moving Parts

If I’ve learned anything about construction it is that every moving part is just another point of failure. Everything that has to move will be a potential place for your tiny house to break and will be difficult to fix. The slide out mechanism for your tiny house will require regular maintenance and repairs.

how to build a tiny houseDrafts And Pests

Sliders are very difficult to make completely weatherproof, even professional installers have a difficult time with this. Air sealing is a major concern when building an efficient tiny house, so introducing potential weak points is a bad idea. It also means pests will have a much easier time entering your tiny house on wheels.

Extra Weight

Slide outs add a lot of weight to your tiny house. You should plan on a single slide adding as much as 1,500 lbs. to the total weight of your tiny house. This means less carrying capacity and can easily make an otherwise easily tow-able tiny house on wheels difficult to haul.

Uneven Weight Distribution

Perhaps the most dangerous issue a slide out can present is uneven weight distribution. A pop out will make a tiny home heavier on one side than the other, which can be very dangerous.

Tiny House With Slide Outs Floor Plans

Tiny House With Slide Outs Floor Plans

Slide out tiny house designs are kind of hard to come by these days, so I wanted to suggest a few possible floorplans that you could use when designing your own tiny house on wheels with pop outs.

Tiny House With Slide Out Floor Plan


Floor Plan for Tiny House With Slide Out

Tiny House floorplan

Tiny House Slide Out Floorplan

tiny house plans

How To Build A Tiny House With Slide Outs

How To Build A Tiny House With Slide Outs

The first thing you need to understand is that weight balance in a tiny house is critical to get right. In general, I don’t recommend a DIYer attempting to build slide outs on their own, but we’ll go over the general process for reference. The below instructions are loosely based off the Norco Accu-Slide Slide-Out System.

Build Your Tiny House Trailer Frame

If you’re going to have a tiny house with bump outs, you’re going to need to build a custom tiny house trailer frame. This will need to have the ability to extend footings to stabilize the trailer before the bump outs are extended, plus support the extended room’s weight.

You’ll want to have a solid metal frame made out of 2 to 3-inch square tubing that will serve as the opening for your slide out. Keep in mind that in some systems, you need to actually embed seals, rollers and bezels into the frame, so account for those if your system requires it.

Build Your Tiny House Trailer Frame

Attach Your Slide Out Rollers

The key to this system is a set of rollers that are mounted on the metal frame at the bottom of the opening, which the room is set into and rolls on. These rollers are typically located on the bottom part of the slide out, while the top part is generally pretty loose, but has rubber stripping to try to seal any gaps.

Attach Your Slide Out Rollers

Attach Slide Out Cable System To Your Frame

Attached to the rough frame of your tiny house where the slide out will sit is your cable system frame. This holds the motor and routes the cables to be tensioned properly for the slide out mechanism. Set this portion of the system according to the manufacturing guidelines.

Attach Slide Out Cable System To Your Frame

Drop In Your Steel Framed Slide Out

Your pop out should be framed with a 2 to 3-inch square tubing welded together. This is important because you need this box to be very strong and rigid. The frame should be totally square and plumb, but some systems allow for a slight outward taper to let water run off.

Drop In Your Steel Framed Slide Out

Attach Your Cables To The Slide Out

The cables here don’t actually support the slide out too much, but more balance it. When fully extended, the cables will prevent the top from tipping out, but the bulk of the weight should be on the trailer frame and the top lip of the framed wall (metal tubing).

Attach Your Cables To The Slide Out

Attach Bezels, Stripping, And Seals

Each system will have a unique approach to sealing up your slide out, so follow the manufacturer directions carefully. Keep in mind that some of these need to be inset or other considerations made so that the entire thing will sit flush when closed and seal up tightly when extended.

Attach Bezels to tiny house slide out

Have Support Legs For Long Term Use

While it may not be required, I suggest figuring out some method to independently support the slide out if you’re going to be using it for extended periods of time. Anything longer than a few weeks a year will really need proper support.

Have Support Legs on slide out For Long Term Use

Add A Topper Awning

A topper awning is a rolled-up awning that extends from the inside of the wall cavity out just beyond the outside edge of the bump out. This adds extra protection from the rain and gives a steeper angle to drain water away. Remember that leaks in slide outs are very common, so make sure you do this detail correctly.

Add A Topper Awning to tiny house slide out

Tiny House With Slide Outs Diagram

Diagram of Tiny House With Slide Out

Tiny House With Slide Out Price

Tiny House With Slide Out Price

A tiny house typically costs anywhere from $35,000 to $95,000 when built by a professional builder. Adding slide outs to a tiny house will cost about $4,000 in materials and about $5,000 for labor per slide out.

Many builders no longer accept jobs where a design includes slide outs because even when built properly, they often end up leaking after a few years, leading to call backs. Simply put, for many builders, slide outs are more trouble than they are worth.

Tiny Houses With Slide Out Photos

Tiny Houses With Slide Out Photos

Here is a sampling of tiny houses with slide outs that can be used to inspire your design should you want pop outs in your tiny home.

Tiny House Slide Out Interior Photos

Tiny House Slide Out Interior Photos

Interior of Tiny House Slide Out
Tiny House Slide out interior
tiny house slide out living room
Slide out in tiny house
kitchen slide out in tiny house
tiny house slide out living space
tiny house slide out interior
slide out inside tiny house
tiny house kitchen slide out
side out bedroom in tiny house


Tiny House With Slide Outs Exterior Photos

Tiny House With Slide Outs Exterior Photos

tiny house slide out exterior
tiny house slide out design
contemporary tiny house slide out
simple tiny house slide out
tiny house slide out modern design
tiny house with slide out
multiple slide outs on tiny house
tiny house slide out
minimallist tiny house slide out
modern tiny house slide out
slide out designs for tiny house
tiny house bump outs
single bump out on tiny house
tiny house slide out extra space

Gooseneck Tiny House With Slide Outs Photos

Gooseneck Tiny House With Slide Outs Photos

Gooseneck Tiny House
Gooseneck Tiny House With Slide Out
Tiny House Slide Out on Gooseneck Trailer
Slide Out on Gooseneck Tiny House

Your Turn!

  • What do you think about tiny houses with slide outs?

How Much Does A Tiny House Weigh? How To Calculate The Weight Of Your Tiny Home

How Much Does A Tiny House Weigh? How To Calculate The Weight Of Your Tiny Home

how much does a tiny house weigh

tiny house tipped over on highwayUnderstanding how much a tiny house weighs is a critical step that, if done wrong, can easily lead to disaster, sometimes with deadly results.You don’t want to end up in a situation like with this tiny house where a lot of people were hurt.

The weight of tiny houses is a very important thing to get right. You don’t want to exceed weight limits of your trailer or tow vehicle, and you need to understand weight distribution to ensure you can tow it safely.

How Much Does A Tiny House Weigh? 8,500 lbs., On Average

average tiny house weighs 8500 pounds

A tiny house’s weight really depends on the size of the house itself. The size of a tiny house has a large impact on the weight, obviously.

Below is the average weight for tiny houses of various sizes.

tiny house dimensions

Various Tiny House Weight Measurements

tiny house weight measurements

There are a few numbers you’re going to want to consider when crunching the numbers on your tiny house. These are important to understand for different things like trailer load capacity, towing, and safety.

tiny house trailer weight ratings

Tiny House Dry Weight

The dry weight of a tiny house is how much the house and trailer weighs without any people, water or moveable furniture. This is useful for transporting because you shouldn’t have people or loose furniture in the house while towing. Include built-in furniture and storage into the dry weight.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating – GVWR

The GVWR is the total weight that the trailer can safely hold. Not to be confused GCWR with includes the weight of the trailer, the weight of the house, and the weight of everything you might put inside.

Gross Combined Weight Rating – GCWR

This is the weight of the tow vehicle, the trailers, the tiny house and the people/contents all combined. This is important because the Department of Transportation has certain rules about the maximum weights of GCWR for operating on roads and highways.

Gross Axle Weight Rating – GAWR

The major factor of a trailer’s capacity is the axles it is built upon. GAWR is what your individual axles are rated at by the manufacturer. Keep in mind this is per axle, so if you have two, three, or four axles, you multiply the rating of one axle by the number of axles to determine the approximate trailer capacity.

I want to caution you that if you upgrade your axles to a higher spec, it won’t mean towing more weight is safe. This is a very common line of thought with DIY tiny house builders and can be dangerous because your trailer frame also needs to be upgraded to handle the additional weight.

Gross Trailer Weight – GTW

This is simply the weight of the materials that the trailer is built from.

Payload Weight Rating

This is what your tiny house trailer can carry after you take into consideration the weight of the trailer itself. So if you have a trailer with a GVWR of 8,000 lbs., but the trailer itself weighs 2,000 lbs., your payload weight cannot exceed 6,000 lbs.

Tongue Weight

Since a trailer is balanced (unevenly, by design) to transfer some of the weight onto the tow vehicle itself, you want to make sure you’re not putting too much weight on the tongue.

In some cases, if you have too much weight on the tongue, but are still under the weight rating of the trailer and tow vehicle, it might just be a matter of shifting the weight distribution around. You should make sure you design your house with the proper weight balance in mind.

how to build a tiny house

How To Calculate The Weight Of A Tiny House

How To Calculate The Weight Of A Tiny House

A tiny house’s weight is made up of the trailer that the house sits on, the materials you build your house with, and the contents of your tiny home.

Tiny House Trailer Weights

Tiny House Trailer Weights

The trailer itself needs to be calculated in when considering the weight of your tiny home. Trailer weights can be found on the manufacturer’s website or spec sheet. This is one of the main reasons that I like buying tiny house trailers new, because then you know exactly what you’re getting.

Here are some typical trailer weights:

Trailer Length Trailer Weight
16 ft. 2,300 lbs.
18 ft. 2,500 lbs.
20 ft. 2,700 lbs.
22 ft. 3,000 lbs.
24 ft. 3,300 lbs.
26 ft. 3,500 lbs.
28 ft. 3,700 lbs.
Trailer Length Trailer Weight
30 ft. 3,900 lbs.
32 ft. 4,100 lbs.
34 ft. 4,400 lbs.
36 ft. 4,700 lbs.
38 ft. 5,000 lbs.
40 ft. 5,300 lbs.
42 ft. 5,700 lbs.

The upper limit of your tiny house weight is determined by your trailer’s weight rating, but just because you trailer is rated for a certain weight doesn’t mean you can or should go all the way up to that limit.

tiny house building checklist

Weight Of Tiny House Building Materials

Weight Of Tiny House Building Materials

It can be complicated to figure out exactly how much a tiny house will weigh when you’re designing your tiny home. Here are the weights of some common building materials (listed in lbs.):

Framing Lumber and Sheathing:

2×4 @ 16” o.c = 1.1 plf
2×6 @ 16” o.c. = 1.7 plf
2×8 @ 16” o.c. = 2.2 plf
2×10 @ 16” o.c. = 2.9 plf
2×12 @ 16” o.c. = 3.5 plf
5/8″ plywood = 1.8 psf
3/4″ plywood = 2.3 psf
1 1/8″ plywood = 3.4 psf


Wood board = 1.5psf
Board & Batten = 2.9 psf
Vinyl Siding = 0.52 psf
Counter tops:
Granite = 20 psf
Marble = 19 psf
Laminate = 4 psf
Butcher block = 7 psf


2″ (nom.) decking = 4.3 psf
1″ (nom.) hardwood floor = 4.0 psf
Linoleum = 1.5 psf
3/4″ ceramic tile or quarry tile = 10.0 psf


20 gage metal deck roofing = 2.5 psf
18 gage metal deck roofing = 3 psf
0.05” thick polyvinyl chloride polymer membrane = 0.35 psf


1” fiberglass batt insulation = 0.04 psf
1” loose fiberglass insulation = 0.14 psf
1” rigid insulation = 1.5 psf
Blowing wool insulation R-38 (16” deep) = 0.62 psf
1″ Glass wool = 0.3 psf


Skylight: metal frame w/ 3/8” wire glass = 8 psf
Windows: glass, frame and sash = 8 psf

Other Materials:

3/4″ gypcrete = 6.5 psf
1/2″ gypsum board = 2.2 psf
5/8″ gypsum board = 2.8 psf
Plaster (1″ thick) = 8.0 psf
Acoustical tile = 1.0 psf
1″ Cement plaster = 12.0 psf
1″ Rigid fiberglass = 1.5 psf

plf = per linear foot       •       psf = per square foot

Weight Of Tiny House Contents

Weight Of Tiny House Contents

The final piece that will make up your tiny house weight is the things that go inside your tiny house, including furniture, clothing, and even water. People often forget to consider this, but it can really add up.

Weight Of Furniture

Furniture is something that can add a lot of poundage to your tiny home. Consider too that you might decide to change your furniture in the future, so give yourself some breathing room in case any new furniture is heavier.

For example, when I first built my house, I started with a single sectional piece that was about 75 lbs., but later upgraded to a much nicer recliner that was around 230 lbs. So make sure you have some wiggle room built into your calculations

Item Weight (lbs)
Flat Screen TV (small) 35
Flat Screen TV (medium) 56
Flat Screen TV (large) 140
Entertainment Center (small) 210
Entertainment Center (large) 420
TV Stand 175
Three seat sofa 287
Four seat sofa 350
Sectional sofa (4-piece) 1050
Sectional sofa (5-piece) 1295
Loveseat 224
Armchair 105
Recliner 105
Rocker 84
Item Weight (lbs)
Futon 210
Coffee table (small) 70
Coffee table (large) 105
End table 105
Ottoman 35
Cabinet (small) 70
Cabinet (medium) 140
Cabinet (large) 245
Cabinet (curio) 70
Glass cabinet 140
Desk (small) 154
Desk (large) 245
Bookcase (per section) 140
Bookshelf (small) 70
Item Weight (lbs)
Stereo 28
Speakers (standard) 35
Speakers (large) 70
Blinds/Shades 21
Curtains/Rods 28
Area rug (small) 35
Area rug (large) 70
Clock 35
Grandfather clock 140
Floor lamp 21
Table lamp 14
Mirror (small) 21
Mirror (large) 49
Window A/C unit 40

Weight Of Clothes:

You might be a tiny houser that loves shoes or has a large wardrobe, so you’ll want to account for that weight too. I personally keep a very simple wardrobe, which really consists of a uniform.

weight of clothing

Weight Of Water Tanks And Hot Water Heaters

Water is heavy, 8.33 lbs. per gallon to be exact, which can add up when you really think about how much water you use in a day. Many people want to have a water storage tank so they can go off the grid. Others are trying to decide which water heater is right for them. For either of these options, weight can be a big deciding factor.

  • Water in pipes: 2.7 lbs. per foot of water line
  • Water in tanks: 8.33 lbs. times the volume of your tank
  • Water in tanked hot water heater: 8.33 lbs. times the volume of your hot water tank
  • Water in tankless hot water heater: 5 lbs.

why you should consider a tankless hot water heater

Tiny House Weight Examples

Tiny House Weight Examples

To put these weights into perspective, here are some popular tiny houses that you might have seen around and their weights.

You’ll see that some of these houses are heavier even though they are on shorter trailers than others. Wall height, cladding materials, windows and other features all impact the weight of a tiny home.

10-Foot Tiny House 3200 lbs

10-Foot Tiny House – 3,200 lbs.

16-Foot Tiny House 5400 lbs

16-Foot Tiny House – 5,400 lbs.

18-Foot Tiny House 8000 lbs

18-Foot Tiny House – 8,000 lbs.

20-Foot Tiny House 8800 lbs

20-Foot Tiny House – 8,800 lbs.

24-Foot Tiny House 10500 lbs

24-Foot Tiny House – 10,500 lbs.

20-Foot Tiny House 9800 lbs

20-Foot Tiny House – 9,800 lbs.

35-Foot Tiny House 13500 lbs

35-Foot Tiny House – 13,500 lbs.

26-Foot Tiny House 11500 lbs

26-Foot Tiny House – 11,500 lbs.

34-Foot Tiny House 14000 lbs

34-Foot Tiny House – 14,000 lbs.

how to build a tiny house

Tiny House Trailer Weight Distribution

Tiny House Trailer Weight Distribution

The weight of your tiny house is only part of the picture — how you distribute that weight is also a really big deal.Balancing your weight side to side and front to back is critical. Having the right amount of weight on the tongue is important too, as too much or too little can be dangerous.

Here is a great video demonstrating this:

This is a place where you’re going to want to loop in a professional engineer to calculate the load balances for you. You yourself are taking on the liability and responsibility of building a tiny house, (you get the idea, I’m not responsible) so do your homework.

Typically, you’re shooting to have the tongue weight be 10-15% of your tiny house’s Gross Trailer Weight. No more, no less. You’ll commonly see people suggest that you want 60% towards the front of the trailer, and while this is a good rule of thumb, sometimes having 60% of the weight forward will result in a tongue weight higher than the 10-15%, which is dangerous.

Your Turn!

  • What trailer weight rating are you shooting for?

Guide To Building A Gooseneck Tiny House And Fifth Wheel Tiny Homes

Guide To Building A Gooseneck Tiny House And Fifth Wheel Tiny Homes

Guide To Building A Gooseneck Tiny House
Many people are interested in building a gooseneck tiny house, also known as a fifth wheel tiny house. These houses are built on a special style of trailer, often referred to as a gooseneck, that attaches to your tow vehicle with a fifth wheel towing connector.

While I built my tiny house on a normal trailer, I’ve had the chance to step foot in quite a few gooseneck tiny houses. It’s easy to see the appeal because there is a lot going for this approach.

What Is A Gooseneck Tiny House?

What Is A Gooseneck Tiny House

At its core, a gooseneck tiny house is simply a tiny house built on a gooseneck trailer, which has major benefits of having a more room inside and being easier to tow. The other aspect which draws people to this style of tiny house is that you can have a full height bedroom without needing a ladder.

Gooseneck Tiny House Floorplans

Gooseneck Tiny House Floorplans

One of the key features of a gooseneck tiny home is that you can build over the neck of the trailer. Since you can build over the hitch, you can have a larger living space as compared to a normal bumper bulled trailer. Most people opt to put their bedroom over the hitch with a few steps leading up to it.

To get an idea of gooseneck tiny house designs, here are some different floorplans for a gooseneck tiny house.

32-Foot Gooseneck Tiny House Floorplans

32-Foot Gooseneck Tiny House Floorplans

A tiny house built on a 32-foot gooseneck trailer will give you about 331 square feet of living space in your tiny house. Here are some tiny house floorplans that are built on a 32-foot gooseneck trailer.

Gooseneck Tiny House Floorplans for 32-Foot trailer
 Floorplans for 32-Foot Gooseneck trailer
Floorplans for 32-Foot trailer
Tiny House Floorplans for 32-Foot trailer

34-Foot Gooseneck Tiny House Floorplans

34-Foot Gooseneck Tiny House Floorplans

A tiny house built on a 34-foot trailer will give you approximately 350 square feet of living space. Here are a few floorplans for a 34-foot fifth wheel tiny house.

Gooseneck Tiny House Floorplans for 34-Foot trailer
Floorplans for 34-Foot tiny house
Tiny House Floorplans for 34-Foot gooseneck trailer
Gooseneck Floorplans for 34-Foot trailer

38 Foot-Gooseneck Tiny House Floorplan

38 Foot-Gooseneck Tiny House Floorplan

A tiny house built on a 38-foot gooseneck trailer will have about 380 square feet of living space. At this size, you’re going to have to consider what type of tow vehicle you’re going to need, because these can be very heavy. Here are a few floorplans for a tiny house built on a 38-foot gooseneck trailer.

38 Foot Gooseneck Tiny House
38 Foot Floorplan for a Gooseneck Tiny House
38 Foot Tiny House Gooseneck Trailer
38 Foot Tiny House

40 Foot Gooseneck Tiny House Floorplan

40 Foot Gooseneck Tiny House Floorplan

A tiny house built on a 40-foot gooseneck trailer will have about 400 square feet of living space, which is a decent sized tiny house. [Link to tiny house dimensions post] It’s at this point that you’ll have to start watching out for weight ratings and axle limits for a CDL license when you tow your tiny house.

Floorplan for a 40 Foot Gooseneck Tiny House
40 Foot Tiny House Floorplan
40 Foot Tiny House Floorplan For a Gooseneck trailer
40 Foot Floorplan for Tiny House gooseneck

tiny house resources

tiny house dimensions

Tiny House Dimensions

Gooseneck Tiny House Plans

Gooseneck Tiny House Plans

Right now, there is only one set of plans for sale that I know of for a gooseneck trailer tiny home. These are designed by my friend Macy Miller, who built this house herself. I’ve spent time reviewing a lot of tiny house plans and these in particular are one of the best out there.

minimotives house
minimotives floorplan
minimotives tiny house
minimoties tiny house layout plans
minimotives tiny house interior
minimotives floorplan layout

The first thing you notice about the plans are the gorgeous 3D graphics! They help make the building plans easier to read and are visually appealing. There are so many zoomed-in details, cutaways, and isometrics, and they’re all beautiful. The 3D diagrams are rendered in color and labeled clearly so a builder can easily discern all the details. The plans are also very thorough at 32 pages. Pages measure 17”x11”. They could be printed or viewed digitally. There’s no tool list, but the materials list is very detailed.

The plumbing illustrations are rendered in 3D from different angles and very clearly labeled. There’s also a page dedicated just to the electrical diagrams separate from other floor plans and layouts for easy reading. Color coding helps the builder see the circuits more clearly. For the beginner, there are some great side diagrams explaining basic wiring.

How To Build A Gooseneck Tiny House

How To Build A Gooseneck Tiny House

If you want to build a tiny house on a gooseneck or fifth wheel trailer, the process is pretty similar to that of a standard tiny house, with the exception of building over the fifth wheel neck. The best way to think about this is just building two sections of house, one mounted on the main trailer and the other mounted on the neck.

A Gooseneck Tiny House

As you can see, there are two section of this tiny house. The main body and the upper loft of the gooseneck. You’re going to want to make sure that your roof height doesn’t exceed the maximum height allowed by law. [LINK to tiny house dimensions post]

Step 1: Design Your Tiny House

Step 1: Design Your Tiny House

Start by having a rough idea of your layout to make sure the square footage will work for you, then get your trailer. I’d suggest getting your trailer before you commit to a final design. This will help you when it comes to actual dimensions and visualizing what it really will be like.

tiny house resources

planning your tiny house

Planning Your Tiny House

Step 2: Anchor Your Tiny House To Your Gooseneck Trailer

Anchor Your Tiny House To Your Gooseneck Trailer

Anchoring your tiny house is a very important step, especially with a gooseneck tiny home. A gooseneck trailer is much heavier than a regular trailer, but that also allows you to put more weight on it. The result is that your tiny home will be a load that, if not anchored properly, can be disastrous or even deadly.

tiny house resources

Anchor A Tiny House To A Gooseneck Trailer

Anchoring Your Tiny House

Step 3: Build The Subfloor

Build The Subfloor for a tiny house

The first system you’re going to build is your subflooring. This is the base that will sit on top of your trailer deck and later is what you’ll add your finish flooring on. A very important point here is to make sure the anchoring extends from the trailer through your subflooring and up into the wall studs to secure all three together.

tiny house resources

tiny house subfloor

Framing The Floor

Step 4: Framing The Walls Of Your Gooseneck Tiny Home

Framing The Walls Of Your Gooseneck Tiny Home

On top of your subflooring, you’re going to build your wall framing system. You want to make sure that your anchoring comes through your bottom plate and ties into your vertical studs with the proper metal brackets. I’d suggest 16 inch on center framing, but you might consider 24 inch framing if you need to lighten up on weight.

tiny house resources

framing a tiny house

Framing My Tiny House

Step 5: Framing Your Roof

Framing Your Tiny House Roof

Your roof tops off your walls and should be covered in roof decking and tied in with hurricane brackets at each stud. Your roof trusses should land exactly on top of your wall studs, which will allow the weight of the roof to be carried down from the rafters, through the studs and onto your trailer.

how to build a tiny house book

Step 6: Add Sheathing

Add Sheathing to a tiny house

On the outside of your tiny house, you’re going want to use sheathing to tie it all together. I suggest using a glue and screw approach for extra strength.

tiny house resources

Tiny House Sheathing

Step 7: Add Doors And Windows To Your Tiny House

Add Doors And Windows To Your Tiny House

Dropping in your windows and doors won’t take long, but you want to make sure you get your flashing details right.

Step 8: Adding Siding And Trim To Your Tiny House

Adding Siding And Trim To Your Tiny House

Adding siding to your tiny house is a pretty straight forward process once you get the trim done around your windows and doors. You have a few options for siding: board & batten, fiber cement, and wood siding. I wouldn’t suggest going with vinyl siding as it’s very easily blown off while driving down the road.

tiny house resources

tiny house building checklist

Tiny House Building Checklist

Step 9: Installing Utilities: Electrical And Plumbing

Installing Utilities Electrical And Plumbing

For this step, you might want to consider looping in an electrician and a plumber. But for those of you who want to do it on your own, it can be done. I’d suggest using PEX in your tiny house to plumb it and keeping your electrical system pretty simple.

tiny house resources

simple electric for tiny houses

Simple Electrical For Tiny Houses

tiny house plumbing

Tiny House Plumbing

Step 10: Finish Your Gooseneck Tiny House Interior

Finish Your Gooseneck Tiny House Interio

Obviously this is a pretty involved step, but the final process of building your gooseneck tiny house is to finish the inside. You’re going to want to apply your interior wall finishes, build out your kitchen and bathroom, add your built ins, and lay down your flooring.

Here are some posts that can help you with all this:

tiny house resources

designing your tiny house bathroom

Designing Your Dream Bathroom

tiny house kitchen ideas

Tiny House Kitchen Ideas

how to set up a tiny house loft

Tiny House Loft Solutions

tiny house closet

Building My Closet

Gooseneck Tiny House Video Tours

Gooseneck Tiny House Video Tours

Here are some video tours of gooseneck tiny house interiors to get some design inspiration for building your own tiny house on a fifth wheel trailer.

how to build a tiny house

Your Turn!

  • Why do you want to build your tiny house on a gooseneck trailer?

Contracts Are Your Friend When Having A Tiny House Built

Contracts Are Your Friend When Having A Tiny House Built

More and more people are turning to builders of tiny homes to build their house.  When I first started the tiny house movement everyone was building their own tiny house, but that isn’t the case today.  Over the years I’ve found several really great builders, but I’ve also found a lot of really terrible builders.  My only advice is that buyer beware is the best advice I can give.

I felt the need to write this post today because there is clearly a need for people to understand how to protect yourself during this process.  I’ve seen countless examples of people not using common sense when it comes to hiring a builder and so here I am making this P.S.A.

When You Hire A Builder, Have This:

  1. Signed contract
  2. Build and payment timeline
  3. Detailed set of plans
  4. Process for changes
  5. Plan for when things go wrong
  6. Vetted references


Before I get into what each of these things are, I feel the need to justify the need for these things, not because they require justification, but because people seem to think they’re not needed.  It honestly blows my mind when I hear a horror story of a builder and I always ask, “do you have a contract?” 95% of the time the answer is “no”.

A Tiny House Contract With A Builder Does The Following:

  • Gets people on the same page
  • Reduces disagreements
  • Highlights future problems before they happen
  • Can help ward off bad builders
  • Gives you a leg to stand on in court if need be

If you’re entering into any agreement in life that’s more than $1,000 you should have something signed. The bigger the price tag, the more time you need to spend on the contract.  When I am considering whether to put together a document, I ask myself this: “Am I willing to lose or walk away from this money?”  If the answer is no, I draw up a contract.

I need to put a bit of tough love on all of you here, because most people I’ve run into think contracts aren’t necessary.  You need a contract and several other documents when hiring a professional to build your house.  If you don’t, I have a really hard time feeling sorry for you when it all goes bad.  Being a responsible adult means taking common sense steps like drawing up a contract on things like this.

So let’s get into what is involved with each of these things.

how much does a tiny house cost

You Need A Contract When You Hire A Builder Or Contractor:

Before you give over one dollar, you need to have a contract signed.  Why?  Because a contract is simply a tool to make sure everyone is on the same page.  People shy away from contracts because they sound complicated, they could be expensive, they are so formal or too “corporate.”

This is the exact opposite of how you should feel.  I love contracts, seriously!  I know it’s a little weird, but I really do.

The way I like to think about contracts is, they’re a tool that lets me understand the other person.  That’s it!  In life I’ve found that most disagreements happen when I do something when the other person expected something else.  If we can both agree on what we expect, most disagreements won’t happen.

So we use a contract to carefully outline what we want, what we expect, how we are going to go about it, and what the plan is. What I’ve found is we outline these things, sit down with the person and we suddenly find out we were thinking different things.  That’s great because we can align our thinking and fix it now.

A contract is best to be drawn up by a lawyer, but really any good builder should have a template handy.  You can get free templates online and customize to your needs.  Be wary of anyone who seems hesitant to work with you on a contract.  Bad and dishonest builders shy away from contracts. Quality builders love contracts because a contract lets them understand their customer and prevent disagreements.

You Should Have A Detailed Building Timeline:

contract timelines

In addition to the contract, you need a timeline.  A timeline outlines who does what and when.  You should outline when each phase of the build is to be completed.  Break down the build into milestones: Design finalized, construction starts, walls erected, roof completed, siding/windows/doors, interior finishes, etc.  For each of these things have a due date and tie those due dates to payments.

Along with a build schedule I would recommend insisting on a formal update every 2 weeks. Write this into the contract, along with what defines an “update”.  It can be a simple email with photos, but honestly I’d do it in person or do a virtual check in where they Skype or Face Time you and walk around the in progress house.  You want to see your house – actually lay eyes on it, don’t take their word for it!

For updates I’d stipulate in the contract:

  • Summary of work completed since last update (100 words or so)
  • 5 photos included with each updated, showing work that was completed
  • Summary of any delays and actions to fix it
  • Summary of work to be done by next update
  • Any items that need to be discussed or addressed

An important note here is you need to compare the work done to the timeline you’ve setup. Compare the last set of updates “work to be done” with the subsequent updates list of “work completed.” The update list should match. If it doesn’t, the builder should have a plan to catch up and explanation.  You should build in some time for setbacks. Be reasonable because delays happen, but set expectations for how much of a delay is too much.

Have A Detailed Set Of Plans As Part Of The Contract:

house plansA set of professionally generated plans are an investment to achieve a successful build.  Plans are an effective way to communicate exactly what you want.

Plans will typically cost $1,000 or more, but it’s something that you shouldn’t skimp on.  You want the plans to include specific dimensions, electrical, plumbing, and other utilities.  The other very important aspect to plans is the materials list.  You literally need to spec out every material in the house along with any mechanical or appliances.

Why so much detail in the material list?  Because it will help the builder price correctly and remove any questions when it comes to what needs to go into the house.   Really shady builders will often swap materials for cheaper versions and pocket the difference.

Have A Process For Changes:

changes will happen in buildingThis is typically a good signal of a quality builder, they rely heavily on rigid processes and insist on “change orders”.  In your contract you need to specifically state that any changes not signed off BEFOREHAND are not allowed and you aren’t responsible for paying for them.

A change order is simple document that states that you were planing on doing one thing, but for whatever reason something needs to be changed.  It should outline what the change is very specifically and needs to include the change of charges.  Even if there are no additional charges, it needs to specifically state that the cost is $0.00 in the document.


Things to require change orders are:

  • Changes to materials, parts or appliances
  • Agreements on delays
  • Changes in build, layout, design, colors or other elements
  • Any additions
  • Any changes to final billable costs or credits
  • Anything that wasn’t planned for

Plan For When Things Go Wrong:

Building a tiny house is a complex and things will go wrong.  It most likely won’t be a big deal, but it will happen.  Both sides need to be reasonable and considerate, but you also need to know when to draw the line.  The best piece of advice I can give here is that things are best resolved through productive conversations and understanding.

Be clear about what is bothering you, calmly state what you thought was going to happen, what did happen and propose possible solutions.  When you talk about issues, make sure you stop talking and listen when they’re speaking and ask for the same respect.  Do your best to keep your emotions in check.

Before you even start building, while you’re putting together your contract, sit down with the builder and say “I want to figure out a good way for us to resolve issues if they ever come up and want to work together on solutions together.”  If you have a specific conversation about this it can prevent a lot of heartache later on.

Often contracts will have a mediation process, where a third party hears both sides and determines what the fair thing to do is.  I’d suggest having the following:

  • Define a process that can help the situation early on
  • Define a mediation process
  • Define the location or jurisdiction for any legal proceedings if it needs to go to court
  • Define who pays for what in mediation and legal fees

Vet every builder with multiple references

First off, if a builder has never built a tiny house, run away as fast as you can.  Even if they were a builder of normal homes, that’s not good enough.  Why would you take the chance?

Any builder you engage you need to talk to multiple references.  In those interviews I’d strongly suggest you going to meet them in person and ask ahead of time to see the house they had built.  Most homeowners are proud of their house and love to show it off.  It will give you a chance to see the quality of the builder’s work and give you a chance to see real world examples which can be useful in your own build.

If a builder even blinks when you ask for references you should walk away.  If they aren’t quick to provide several references, you need to run away.  Seriously.  Why would any good builder not be willing to have you talk to previous customers?  Quality builders love references because their work will shine through.

A really important note: if there is anything at all, that seems not right about any of the references choose another builder. If your gut says something is off, don’t use that builder.  I’d rather be wrong than sorry.

Good builders love contracts, timelines, and references because it improves the outcome and shows their quality work.  Bad or sketchy builders will shy away from these types of things.

Your Turn!

  • What tips do you have?
  • What lessons have you learned from working with builders?

Framing The Floor Of My Tiny House

Today I wanted to share with you all on how I framed the floor of my house. The floors of your house in the floor is made up of a few sections:

  • Trailer decking
  • Sub floor framing
  • Sub-flooring
  • Finished flooring

Trailer Decking:

The trailer decking is the base that you’re resting your sub-floor framing on, which makes up the bottom portion of your flooring system.  Between the decking and the actual framing you want to have two control layers: a vapor barrier and a animal/bug barrier.  For this I used galvanized flashing sealed with a flashing caulking an stapled down.

This helped to block moisture from engineering in, but also kept road debris out.  Additionally this prevents pests and rodents from coming into too, but having a contiguous layer of metal to block them.

tiny house deck flashing

After that I added a single layer of 10 mil poly plastic sheeting as an extra control layer for vapor and air on top of my flashing.

tiny house floor vapor barrier

Tiny House Sub Floor Framing

My tiny house sub floor framing was done with treated 2×4’s placed on 2 foot centers.  The trick to framing is to have all your joists designed to be on 24″ centers, so when you place sub flooring – which is 4 feet wide – you know exactly where to screw into the floor joists.  The other thing you need to consider is the forces that the floor is going to be encountering, this effectively is your foundation, so it’s important for this to be really strong.

tiny house sub floor framing

To add more strength I used corner braces that are used in hurricane prone area building, I also tied the floor joists to the deck of the trailer using high sheer strength screws.  I screwed from below the trailer, through the trailer decking, into the joists.  In certain key joints  I chiseled out notches for the cross members to sit into, this wasn’t in the plans, but I thought the potential forces seemed to call for it.  Here is a video and then a bunch of photos after that.

My Tiny House Floor Framing:

Framing the Floor


Framing the Floor


Framing the Floor


Framing the Floor


Framing the Floor


Framing the Floor


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